Florida Senate Bill 1854 would have required a so-called “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution” which is code word in US state legislatures these days for “taught along side Intelligent Design Creationism as an alternative to established scientific reckoning of the nature and history of life on earth.” Whe the state legislature adjourned a few days ago, that bill died a quiet death .

In 2009, before introducing a similar bill, SB 1854′s sponsor, Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5), announced his intention to introduce a bill requiring “intelligent design” to be taught in Florida’s public schools. In 2011, discussing SB 1854 with a reporter for the Tampa Tribune (March 13, 2011), he asked, “Why would you not teach both theories at the same time?” According to the Tribune, he was referring to evolution and what he called “non-evolution.” Wise further explained, “I think it’s a way in which people can have critical thinking … what we’re saying is here’s a theory, a theory of evolution, a theory of whatever, and you decide.”

Senator Wise, with all due respect … well, actually, what you deserve instead of respect is to be asked this question: Why do you hate America? You’ve tried to trash the first amendment. Do you also oppose the second? What about the others? Or do you pick and chose. All educational and business interests is Florida with a concern for quality science education ought to contribute to whoever is running against you next election. It would be a good time to do that because the word on the street is that there will be a sea change in the electoral landscape in Florida this fall.

In other news, Baton Rouge high school senior Zack Kopplin continues to kick creationist butt…

Adding their support for the effort to repeal Louisiana’s antievolution law are the New Orleans City Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Senate Bill 70, would, if enacted, repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act, passed and enacted in 2008. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists, as well as forty-three Nobel laureates, have already endorsed SB 70.

At its May 5, 2011, meeting, the New Orleans City Council unanimously passed Resolution R-11-207, supporting SB 70. According to the summary of the council’s meeting, “This act [the LSEA] undermines the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution in the Louisiana public school science curriculum. This theory of evolution is a widely and commonly accepted scientific study and the basis for biology, medicine, biochemistry, agriculture, ecology and other scientific studies.” Council member Gisleson Palmer was quoted as saying, “The Louisiana Science Education Act inhibits science focused students of all ages and inadequately prepares them for jobs in the science field. With the New Orleans Medical Corridor poised for tremendous growth, this law also profoundly impacts our ability to fill jobs in the cutting-edge science fields with students educated in our state’s public schools.”

In a letter to the sponsor of SB 70, Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5), dated April 19, 2011, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s chief executive officer Alan I. Leshner wrote (PDF), “I write in support of your effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). The LSEA features language that could be used for the insertion of religious or unscientific views in science classrooms. The bill disingenuously implies that particular theories, including evolution, are controversial among scientists. In reality, the science of evolution underpines all of modern biology. The principles behind it have been tested and retested for decades, and it is supported by tens of thousands of scientific studies. Evolution informs scientific research in a broad range of fields such as agriculture and medicine, work that has an important impact on our everyday lives.”

More details on both stories can be found on the National Center for Science Education web site here and here.

Also, sign this petition and enjoy this video:

Oh, and have a free copy of a chapter from a book on evolution courtesy of the NCSE. PDF DOWNLOAD

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    May 9, 2011

    … the word on the street is that there will be a sea change in the electoral landscape in Florida this fall.

    Not on my street – but then again, I live on an unpaved dirt road.

    And all my local elections office has to say about this fall concerns municipal elections in High Springs and Waldo – in both of which, no doubt, improvements are possible, but where ripple effects have so far failed to revolutionize society.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 9, 2011

    Well, next fall.

  3. #3 jrkrideau
    May 9, 2011

    Oh dear! If those things happen it’s going to make recruiting all those top-notch researchers up here to Canada much harder. We were counting on picking up a few potential Nobel Prize winners in the next few years

    If their children are not being taught all that crap they may want to move to the great frozen North.

    Some of those “Teach the controversy laws must be destroying basic US education!

  4. #4 hibob
    May 9, 2011

    “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution”

    Well, within limits of classroom time and educational level, I’d hope that presentation of any topic in a science class would be both thorough and critical.

    “crit·i·cal

    1. inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
    2. occupied with or skilled in criticism.
    3. involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.”

    Unless there’s some further language that specifically limits the definition of “critical” to #1, SB 1854 would be a great way to keep ID out of the curriculum.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    May 9, 2011

    hibob, of course, that is not how it works at all. This is just a revamped version of the now aging “academic freedom” and “teach the controversy” strategies.

    This bill gets past. A creationist teacher does a half lesson on evolution then a few days on ID and other forms of creationism. A law suit happens. The defense is that the teacher was following the law.

    What would happen is that Dover still makes it illegal to teach ID. I suspect the DI or other organizations have in the wings an alternative to ID that will be rolled out once one of these laws gets on the books and creationist biology teachers start using it. That will add an extra step to the process, taking that new form of creationism and identifying it as such. In the mean time, some poor-ass school district in Florida or Louisiana is going to be writing a multi-million dollar check to a law firm.

  6. #6 Steve
    May 9, 2011

    Do the creationists realize how this could backfire on them? The science teacher could list an overview of all the evidence supporting evolution on one side of the blackboard, and on the other side, write “God did it”, and then teach some critical thinking.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    May 9, 2011

    Steve, or even better, simply include a history of the enlightenment through neo-Darwinism.

    The problem is that the people funding the creationists still win. Their intention is NOT really to push a religious agenda. It is to ruin science literacy. At the base of it, Creationism is not a regligious issue; It is political. Those funding the Republican’ts want very much to rule from the backroom over a populous of science-ignorant troglodytes.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    May 9, 2011

    my point, which I did not make, being that it takes at least three, preferably five or six, hours of lecture to give that topic justice at the appropriate level. So, which part of the science curriculum which is already overcrowded to we cut out to insert a history of science mini-course? And, once a state legislature successfully inserts curriculum by fiat and has that stand, what’s next?

  9. #9 dmabsd
    May 9, 2011

    gregladen we are going to execute you…

    enough of your BS… you lost

    for little d*ck pz

    ATHEIST GENOCIDE

    graveyardofthegods.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=11419

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    May 9, 2011

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Dennis (dmabsd).

  11. #11 gwen
    May 9, 2011

    David Markuze, who do you mean by “we”?

  12. #12 NewEnglandBob
    May 9, 2011

    Gwen – in the case of the nut job, Markuze, “we” means all the voices he hears in his diseased brain.

  13. #13 John Kwok
    May 9, 2011

    For more information on Zack Kopplin’s work, look at his website:

    http://www.repealcreationism.com

    He has received endorsements too from the likes of Franciso J. Ayala, Ken Miller, Niles Eldredge, and Neil Shubin, among others.

  14. #14 https://me.yahoo.com/a/s0aEexkjo4xWNHbUu2tZTnS0v8ItXbJ6#21ed0
    May 10, 2011

    Wasn’t it prophesied that one shall come along spouting nothing but falsehoods and hate? This being shall be known as the antichrist. How do you know that you are not the beast? The message of the beast was to be lies and hate. So it was written. So also is it written that you yourself spout only lies and hatred, proof thereof lies above.
    You, sir, are one and the same as the being you pretend to fight against…well played. Prove that you are not.

    LOL, sorry, I couldn’t help myself. This dickhead has threatened me before way back when I still used the ‘nym tohellwithyourturtle.

    Arkham

  15. #15 Indian Association
    May 10, 2011

    Hi,
    This very good and nice article about Good News from the evolution.
    Keep it up nice posting like this.A creationist teacher does a half lesson on evolution then a few days on ID and other forms of creationism. A law suit happens.

    Thanks,
    Katerina.

  16. #16 nice_marmot
    May 10, 2011

    “thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution…”

    …also known as “science.”

  17. #17 dean
    May 10, 2011

    You don’t need the Florida senate to fuck up education standards in Florida (this isn’t about science, so Greg I’ll understand if you delete it.)

    The lead paragraph:

    A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.

    The rest. Guess the name of the billionaire.
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/billionaires-role-in-hiring-decisions-at-florida-state-university-raises/1168680

  18. #18 Peter
    May 10, 2011

    I understand that FSU has a new slogan for their business and economy departments:

    Integrity – we’ve heard of it.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    May 10, 2011

    Actually, buying faculty positions is a long established tradition, though normally the donor only gets to buy the first holder of the position. In business and econ grad schools, though, the incestuous links between business and the schools it what makes them ‘work.’

  20. #20 dean
    May 10, 2011

    I’ve never seen it this blatant. I have heard of it in funded “chairs” or “positions”, but this seems more blatant.

  21. #21 Twilliam
    May 10, 2011

    Don’t you scientist have something better to do besides worry about stuff like this. Why not try and invent something or improve peoples life some kind of way, instead, you put all this energy and used up brain cells and man hours on trying to convince others that some guys theory is the only way to live a productive and fruitful life. What the hell is the difference if people believe in God, intelligent design or evolution. Big whoop! Time for you people to a life. FYI: Sponsor of SB 70, Karen Carter Peterson (D-District 5) is a nasty and embarrassing figure in our legislature.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    May 10, 2011

    Twilliam, we are busy perfecting our grammar.

    Oh, wait, you’re in Florida, you wouldn’t know about that because you’all have ruined your education system.

  23. #23 John Kwok
    May 11, 2011

    I strongly urge those of you reading this from Louisiana (or know of friends and relatives who do) to lobby the Louisiana state senate so that there is a veto-proof majority vote in favor of SB 70, which will repeal the LSEA.

  24. #24 Jim
    May 12, 2011

    Twilliam, I don’t believe anyone has said that it matters what you believe, only that it matters what you teach. And, since we’re talking about education in science class, I fail to see the connection between that educaiton and being taught how to live a productive and fruitful life. I learned a lot on my biology classes, but little of it had to do with ethics or morality. Or are you one of those who thinks that morality counts only if it’s received externally?